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Draft beer bill awaiting vote

A bill introduce by Rep. Charles Newton would allow the sale of draft or keg beer by properly licensed businesses. The bill is awaiting the approval of the Legislature. The Legislature plans to meet through Thursday this week and then return for the final day of the regular session on May 21. (Metro Creative Services)

Draft beer may soon be on tap in Butler County.

A bill introduce by Rep. Charles Newton would allow the sale of draft or keg beer by properly licensed businesses. The bill is awaiting the approval of the Legislature. The Legislature plans to meet through Thursday this week and then return for the final day of the regular session on May 21.

On Monday, the Butler County Commission officially gave its approval by voting unanimously to support the bill. The vote is largely symbolic, however. The sale of draft or keg beer in Butler County will remain illegal unless the bill is passed in the Legislature.

“We don’t have local rule, so we can’t make the decision on whether or not draft beer can be sold in the county,” Commissioner Frank Hickman said. “It has to be passed by the Legislature, but as a general rule, if all if the representatives or senators of a county want it passed, the rest of the Legislature goes along with it.”

Hickman said he hopes the bill doesn’t spark controversy in the county.

“I hope this doesn’t give anyone cause to be concerned,” he said. “It’s really not very different than the law we already have in place. It’s just a different form of beer. It will allow businesses to be able to offer a different variety of beer.”

Commissioner Jerry Hartin said he didn’t think the passage of the bill would cause a problem.

“We already have restaurants that are selling beer,” he said. “If the bill passes and some start selling draft beer there are still plenty of restaurants that don’t sell beer that people can go to if they want. This is something that Sen. (Bryan) Taylor asked us to do, and so we’re supporting it.”